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  • Gathered Roots

Acupuncture for Allergies

An allergy occurs when a person’s immune system reacts to substances in the environment that are harmless to most people. These substances are known as allergens and are found in dust mites, pets, pollen, insects, ticks, moulds, foods and some medications. The body’s immune response releases many chemicals. Histamine is the most abundantly released chemical and is responsible for causing most allergic symptoms.

Allergic symptoms include:

  • Itchy, watery eyes

  • Runny nose

  • Sneezing

  • Itchy nose or throat

  • Sinus congestion


Allergen avoidance or minimization relies on identifying the cause of the allergy and taking steps to reduce exposure to the allergen. For example, reducing dust mites in the home may help reduce symptoms in people who are allergic to mites.

There are also so many different allergy medications like antihistamines, intranasal corticosteroids, nasal decongestants, nasal sprays, antihistamine eye drops, and immunotherapy to treat allergic symptoms. Allergen immunotherapy (also known as desensitization) is a long-term treatment that changes the immune system's response to allergens. It involves the administration of regular, gradually increasing amounts of allergen extracts, by injections or by sublingual tablets, sprays or drops.

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers seasonal allergies, as well as asthma and sinusitis, as respiratory diseases that can be helped effectively with acupuncture.

Holistic Treatment

In Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) an allergic reaction is a manifestation of the body's difficulty to adjust to its environment. We, therefore, treat the allergic person, not the allergies. According to the philosophy of TCM, weaknesses of the "System of the Lung” or "System of the Liver” favour these allergic reactions.

TCM explains that the “lung” is the first organ to come into contact with allergens. In a weakened state, it will be vulnerable to these substances. The “liver”, meanwhile, helps the body adapt to its environment. If compromised, an exaggerated response to allergens will occur causing the symptoms of allergy.

How does acupuncture help?

By stimulating the energy of the "lung" and by regulating the "liver" acupuncture treatment aims to calm the exaggerated response to the allergens. When symptoms are not so present, the treatment will aim to balance and strengthen the identified TCM disharmonies that contribute to the problem. Acupuncture treatments for allergies, therefore, have both preventative and therapeutic benefits.

At Gathered Roots, we recommend that patients consult before “allergy season” or onset of symptoms to obtain better results. A course of treatment usually consists of 10-12 sessions weekly. Some people need only one course of treatment while others may need more, depending on the severity of their symptoms. Book your appointment today to start your allergy treatment!

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